Winners of the Challenge Slavery Tech Contest announced
Pepperdine University and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced recently the the winners of the Challenge Slavery Tech Contest - a competition launched to identify new and innovative ways to end modern slavery.
The organizations aim to increase global awareness about trafficking, inspire activism among students and scholars at colleges and universities worldwide, and generate new, creative solutions to stop human trafficking and help victims enslaved in sex, labor, or other forms of exploitation.
Students from around the world submitted proposals in November 2012. And the winners are:
First place prize of $5,000
Abolishop is a prototype browser extension aiming to inform consumers of the impact of their purchases while shopping online. This extension searches through the user's Amazon shopping cart and assigns a grade to each item based on the brand's rating in Not For Sale's database. Not For Sale's ratings indicate the likelihood and extent to which a production system contributes to or otherwise utilizes slave labor. This extension is available whenever the user is on Amazon's site. When launched, the extension finds the information for each item in the cart that has a rating in the Not For Sale database. Watch a video of the Abolishop demo here.
Second place prizes of $2,500
It Takes a Network: Reclaiming Cyberspace in the Struggle against TIP
The concept is to build a "data ecosystem" for counter-trafficking organizations - a secure online network where they could share human trafficking data with each other. Organizations would be encouraged to report data in a standardized format, making the data useful and easy to translate for all organizations in the network. The network would encourage more collaboration and use of hard data among those working in the counter-trafficking movement. Read the concept paper here.
Shop4Society Web Plugin Unveils Ethics Behind Consumer Purchase Options The concept proposes the creation of a tool for browsing on Amazon, which enables users to see retailers' corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings alongside traditional Amazon information: the Shop4Society browser plugin. Imagine that a woman searching for a vest pulls up 2 basically identical products on Amazon, from different retailers and with prices varying within a few dollars. She would most likely take either the cheapest or the first option available. However, if she was viewing this information with the Shop4Society plugin, she would see each retailer's CSR rating next to the price; she would have a whole new dimension to consider for this purchasing decision. When shoppers are shown this information by the plugin, they will be enabled to purchase responsibly without altering their shopping behavior. Watch Shop4Society's concept video here.
Mxit Freedom Line
Mxit is the largest social network on the African continent. It relies heavily on instant messaging to power communication amongst its members. This idea takes advantage of their instant messaging platform to operate an anonymized trafficking "hotline." Trafficking victims have the opportunity to provide information to those who can intervene in their situations. Mxit already anonymizes their users by displaying user-selected names instead of legal names. The platform would use existing Mxit services in conjunction with an instant messaging bot to provide quick and anonymous opportunities for victims and bystanders to report potential or ongoing trafficking situations. The information provided through this avenue will be made available to governments, anti-trafficking law enforcement, and non-governmental organizations in the relevant area that are able to help. Read the concept paper here.